Numbers 29. Reports of Colonel John M. C. Marble, One hundred and fifty-first Ohio Infantry, of the defense of Washington.
Fort De Russy, D. C., July 16, 1864.
COLONEL: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations on this portion of your lines for Monday and Tuesday, 11th and 12th instant:
I was ordered by you to take command of Forts De Russy, Kearny, and Battery Smead Monday forenoon, but being immediately detailed by yourself to investigate the firing on the extreme left of your line, I did not reach the post and assume command until 2.30 p. m.
On arriving at this fort I found the operations had already commenced in front of Fort Stevens; that the forces of this post consisted of Companies C and G, One hundred and fifty-first Ohio National Guard, Major J. L. Williams; Company A, First Wisconsin Heavy Artillery, Captain Wallace M. Spear; one-half Company L, Ninth New York Heavy Artillery, Lieutenant S. A. Howe. At Battery Smead, Company I, One hundred and fifty-first Regiment Ohio National Guard, Captain Joseph Chaney; one-half Battery E, Ninth New York Heavy Artillery, Lieutenant French. At Fort Kearny, Company K, One hundred and fifty-first Regiment Ohio National Guard, Captain G. M. Webb; one company Ninth New York Heavy Artillery, Lieutenant Hough.
The infantry forces were immediately placed in the most commanding parts of rifle-pits. Noticing a heavy column moving to the right, we immediately opened on it with a 100-pounder and 30-pounder Parrott, with apparently considerable effect. At the same time the enemy commenced advancing through the fields, a little to the right of our front, a considerable body of skirmishers to re-enforce their skirmishers, who had worked down in close proximity to this fort. A few well-directed shots from our artillery caused them to rapidly retire in the direction of Wilson's house, leaving 1 man dead on the field. During the above Colonel Dayton, with his regiment of Veteran Reserve Corps, reported, 300 strong. I immediately ordered him to put one-third of his force up the ravine to our right, to observe any enemy that might attempt to come in from that direction. Another one-third up the road to our left, down which considerable numbers of refugees had been coming in, and to hold the balance in reserve. Shortly after, Colonel Gile, with his brigade (four regiments) of Veteran Reserve Corps, reported. By this time the enemy had advanced their line of skirmishers down on a line with a house to our right, about 1,500 yards distant, and inside a parallel line of the left flank of the skirmishers sent out from Fort Stevens, apparently having designs on the ravine covered by two redoubts at our right, in which there were no guns. Deeming this to be a weak and important point, although outside of your brigade line, Colonel Gile immediately ordered one of his regiments of Veteran Reserve Corps to establish their line on the crest of the first ridge. The regiment promptly formed their line and advanced, firing rapidly, and, under a heavy fire, driving the enemy's right back, occupying their ground. I have no report of the casualties. We held the line permanently and gradually pressed the enemy's line back until relieved next day
16 R-VOL XXXVII, PT I